Disclaimer: I do not own Angelique, nor its characters. They are the property of Koei and Yura Kairi.
Clavis closed his eyes and listened to the music his best friend Lumiale was playing. He noticed something was off after hearing just three notes. "Lumiale, something is troubling you, isn't it?"
Lumiale paused. "Is it obvious? I was trying not to let it show."
"I could hear it in your music. You seem upset...a bit angry."
"Yes, I suppose I am."
"You do not have to play your harp for me when you feel upset. Instead, you can talk to me about it."
"Clavis-sama?" Lumiale was surprised, Clavis is one to mind his own business and not share his own with others, and Lumiale knew that. That was why he tried to keep his bad mood a secret from his best friend, he didn't want to trouble him.
Clavis could understand Lumiale's confusion. But, he really did want the younger male to talk to him about what was bothering him. If there was one person he could converse with civily, it was Lumiale. He decided it was about high-time he show that to the Mizu no Shugosei. He didn't like him just because of his music, he liked how the younger male never wanted to butt into his business, yet would still try whatever he could to help the older feel better, whether it be the right words or even a simple melody on his harp. Clavis wanted to do the same for Lumiale, after all, he was his best friend. "You will not be a bother to me. I was the one to suggest it, so do not feel you're troubling me."
"Very well, Clavis-sama. Thank you." Lumiale did want to get it off his chest, but at first he was considering going to speak with Luva or Olivie about it...but Luva would possibly be trying to tutor Zephel, or would offer advice in a confusing manner, and as for Olivie, he might tease him about it, not in a mean way, but enough to frustrate him all over again. Clavis was the right person to talk to this time around. "I had another argument with Oscar."
Clavis' eyebrows rose slightly. "I take it things did not go as they normally would." Clavis was aware of the times Oscar and Lumiale had their run-ins. Oscar would start it by teasing Lumiale, then Lumiale would counter for Oscar to laugh and respond to it, leading to Lumiale making a subtle insult and walking away while Oscar was frozen in shock.
"No, it became hurtful this time." Lumiale knew his subtle insults weren't very nice, but he had never hurt Oscar, just shocked him enough to leave before things could escalate into a fight, something the gentle shugosei hated with all his being. "I was unable to counter him, and then he made a direct insult. I had to leave before I made things worse, but I was unable to. He knows I do not like to fight, I hate conflict. But, this time, it sounded like he was trying to draw me into a full-blown argument..."
"What was it about?"
"Well, it was about..." Lumiale started to explain it to the other shugosei, the one he had considered his best friend since his early days as a shugosei.
"Yo, Mizu no Shugosei-dono," Oscar greeted, holding up a hand as if waving.
Lumiale knew by that greeting another of their classic arguments was about to begin. He wanted to leave quickly, he did not want to argue, but he couldn't leave. It would be rude of him to not reply to someone greeting him, even if that someone was his worst friend. "Good day, Oscar." Well, he'd made his greeting, time to leave.
"I saw you sitting by the lake earlier, you seemed really out of it. Something on your mind?"
Lumiale knew the concern was false, he knew Oscar was aware he wouldn't confide in him with his secrets lest they be used against him in their next argument. "It is nothing for you to worry about, Oscar. Why were you there anyway? That lake is my secret place."
"I know. I followed you."
"Why did you follow me?"
"I dunno. Just wanted to see what you were up to. Since you were going somewhere secret, I thought maybe you were meeting someone special."
"Even if I was, that was no business of yours."
"Anyway, I saw you were alone. Couldn't find anyone, huh?"
"Excuse me?" Lumiale started feeling offended. He was unable to come up with a counter statement that would leave the other speechless.
"They probably wouldn't want you because you look so much like a woman they'd worry those around them would consider they were as straight as rainbows."
"My appearance is none of your concern."
"Hmm...maybe that's why you look like a woman, you're probably the same way."
"Oscar, that is quite enough, I do not feel like discussing such things with you."
Oscar didn't seem to hear him. "Well then, since you're seeming pissed off with what I am saying, it must be true."
Lumiale was silently fuming. The way he felt inwards was more than pissed off, of course he wouldn't have used those words to describe it, he had more courtesy than to use a curse word. "Whether it is or not is none of your concern."
"Aha! You didn't deny it! You must be!"
His next words came out without him even wanting them to. "I AM NOT LIKE THAT, I AM BI!!!" When he realised just what he had said, he covered his mouth with both hands, his cheeks flaming redder than Oscar's hair, and tears forming in his eyes.
Oscar stood there shocked. He was only teasing, he didn't really think Lumiale was as straight as a rainbow, but that sudden confession... He cleared his throat. "Excuse me." He then turned and left.
Lumiale just stood there, wanting to melt into the floor and stay there for all of eternity. He had never wanted to tell anybody about his sexual orientation, not after one of his best friends back home left him when he confided in them.
Clavis silently listened, and observed as Lumiale quickly covered his mouth just after explaining about blurting his orientation out to Oscar. He noticed the younger man was feeling distressed.
"I'm sorry, I said too much. Maybe I should leave now, surely you don't want to be around somebody like me." He got to his feet and turned to leave the room.
"What makes you say that?"
Lumiale froze where he stood. "Nobody seems to want to be around somebody who is bi...or even if they are attracted to the same gender entirely."
"That's not true. Tell me, what happened to make you think that way?"
"When I was thirteen, I realised when I noticed I was becoming attracted to a male classmate of mine, two years earlier, I had a crush on a female classmate. I decided it would be safe to confide in my best friend about it. But, when he found out..."
"When he found out, he suddenly decided to no longer be your friend and left you, correct?"
Lumiale nodded silently.
"I am not like that child." Clavis rose from his seat behind his desk and walked over to the younger male. "I will not ever take your friendship for granted. I won't leave you because you are attracted to people of both genders. You have not left me when I needed you, why should I leave you when you need me?"
He turned to the older man and saw sincerity in his eyes. "What if I told you that I am attracted to a fellow shugosei? What if I told you that..." He decided it was now or never. "I am in love with you, Clavis-sama."
Clavis kept his word, he did not suddenly tell the younger male to leave and never return. But, the confession did surprise him. "Lumiale..."
"I wish this wasn't the way you had to find out, but I need to tell you that I am in love with you, and I have been for a long time."
Clavis nodded. "I consider you to be a very dear friend. I am unsure if I am able to love again..."
"Oh..." Lumiale took those words as rejection.
"My heart is fragile, I do not want to risk breaking it again."
"I have heard your confession, and I am taking it to heart. However, I am unsure how to respond myself right now. Please give me a few days to think about it, if my heart agrees that you are the one, or if I am truly unable to love someone like that ever again."
"Very well, Clavis-sama, just knowing you're not leaving me just because I am bi and in love with you makes me happy."
"I would never be able to leave you. As I said, you are a very dear friend. I don't want you to become like me."
Lumiale blinked in confusion, allowing those words to sink in. He suddenly realised what Clavis meant. He doesn't want me to become like him...he's thinking about when Julious-sama told him they weren't friends the day the previous Yami no Shugosei departed... "Clavis-sama, I thank you with all of my heart."
"I do not want to do this, but I am afraid I would like you to leave so I may consider my feelings."
Lumiale nodded in understanding. "Very well, Clavis-sama. I will wait until you are ready." He turned away again.
Lumiale turned to face Clavis again, and was greeted by a warm embrace. He could feel tears forming in his eyes, he could feel Clavis' warmth, his eternal friendship. He returned the embrace with one arm, the other still holding his harp. "Thank you..."
"You will always be my friend, even if I do not return your feelings of love, you will always be my friend."
"You will always be my dearest friend, Clavis-sama, no matter what."
The embrace was soon broken, and Clavis watched Lumiale quietly leave the room. He was surprised by both confessions his friend had made, but he had to admit, he was glad he could hear Lumiale say it.
Lumiale was on his way back to his manor when he came across Oscar.
"Lumiale, wait a minute!"
"What is it you would like to say, Oscar? Haven't you said enough today?"
"I deserved that. Listen, I want to apologise. I was only teasing you, I had no idea that you swung both ways."
"Of course you didn't, I chose not to tell anybody."
"Look, I'm sorry I got carried away. If it makes you feel better, I don't mind that you're bi. You are who you are after all. I like girls, and you like both. So what? You're still the Mizu no Shugosei."
"I should apologise for my harsh words just now. It is just that in the past I confessed it to a friend of mine, he was my best friend, and he left me in an instant."
"Ouch! No wonder you didn't want anybody to know. So, you were seeing Clavis-sama?"
"Yes. I told him about our argument earlier...I even came out to him."
"How'd he handle it?"
"Very well, he was quite accepting, even after I confessed that I was in love with him."
"He's going to think about how he will respond, but no matter what response, we promised to always be best friends."
"Good for you, I'm glad you told him! I was wondering if you were in love with him with the way you always spoke his name as if saying a prayer."
Lumiale blushed. "Oscar, don't tease me about it."
"I'm not, I really am glad you told him. I hope he returns your feelings."
"I am hoping for that myself, but even if he doesn't, he will still be my dearest friend, and he returns the sentiment."
"Good. Anyway, I'd better get going. See ya, Mizu no Shugosei-dono."
"Good day to you, Oscar." He watched as the Honoo no Shugosei made his way to his own manor. He blinked twice as the conversation replayed itself in his mind. Wait a minute, did Oscar try to get me to come out on purpose? Well, he still didn't have to do it the way he did, but I am glad I was finally able to tell Clavis-sama.
Clavis continued to think about Lumiale's confession. Every time he picked up his tarot cards, he would think about how lovely it would be for Lumiale to be in the room playing his harp while he made a new prediction of sorts. But, he had to tell himself that he was the one who had asked Lumiale to leave so he could try to understand his own heart. He was still unsure as to how he could respond to Lumiale's heartfelt confession. He knew he held the younger man dear, that was for certain, he was just unsure if his heart was willing to risk it again. After having Julious end their friendship after his predecessor left, and then having the past queen decide to be queen and not return his feelings for her, how could he know this time would not end in pain? Well, that was a silly question, no two-ways about it, all love ends in pain when a loved one dies or just has to go somewhere far away and they never see each other again.
He stopped thinking about his own heart and considered Lumiale's. The younger male had to leave his family while his mother's health wasn't at its best, he'd had a friend leave him because of his confession. And in the end, one of them would have to leave the seichi once their power runs out and their duty comes to an end. Considering how long he had been there, Clavis was certain he'd be the first to leave, he would have to leave behind Lumiale, or if Lumiale's sacrea were to run out, then Clavis would be the one left behind. By the time the other left and tried to find them, the other may have already passed on.
He just didn't know what to do...break Lumiale's heart by saying he can't return his feelings, or risk breaking both of their hearts by accepting and losing each other in the end? It was a difficult decision to make.
Lumiale sat in his manor, an easel in front of him. He had his watercolour paints and some brushes sitting on a small table beside his seat. He was painting a picture of the sun setting over the lake, his lake, and two people were resting near it, both leaning on the other. Upon closer glance, one of them had long, black hair, while the other had long, blue hair. Lumiale sighed softly as he picked up a new brush and started to work on the detail of the taller person. "Clavis-sama, I do hope that what I am painting will no longer be a dream, but will become reality." He did treasure their friendship, he really did. But, his heart was pining for the older man, and had been for at least two years. Of course, when it began, Clavis wasn't as warm to others as he was starting to become. He knew that would be the wrong time to tell him. He didn't want to risk their friendship, he wanted to keep his feelings hidden.
But, due to an argument with Oscar, Lumiale managed to finally confess not just his orientation, but his feelings for the Yami no Shugosei.
"I love you, Clavis-sama, both in the romantic way and as a friend. I do hope you can allow your heart to love again..."
A week had passed, and Clavis was still finding it hard to make his decision. It got to be on his mind so often, he missed sleep, and even missed a few meals. He could only think about Lumiale, and his feelings towards the younger male.
A knock sounded on the door, and Clavis turned to watch it open, he didn't hear the person about to enter his room calling to please excuse them for entering unannounced. He watched as a beautiful young man with long, blue hair entered the room.
"Clavis-sama, I have noticed that you have not attended meals...is it because of what I said?"
Clavis didn't move, didn't say anything. He couldn't.
"Clavis-sama?" Lumiale closed the door behind himself and moved closer to his best friend. He noticed the dark rings under his friend's eyes. "You haven't been sleeping either." He reached a hand to the taller male's forehead and pulled back. "Clavis-sama, you're developing a fever! Please, you must lie down and rest!"
"I cannot rest, not until I know my response..."
"So, it is because of what I said. Clavis-sama, I am so sorry my confession did this to you. I know you wanted time to think about it, but I didn't know you would go to extremes to consider your response. I told you that I would wait until you were ready to reply, you did not have to force yourself."
"It breaks my heart to see you like this, Clavis-sama...it really does...I should not have confessed to you, it may have been better if I had kept my feelings for you a secret..."
"No, then you would be the one to get sick. Just as you can't stand seeing me like this, I can't stand seeing you in the same condition. I need to tell you something. I am in my right state of mind, so do not think this is because of the fever."
Lumiale moved closer. "If it would help to tell me before you rest, then please do."
"It will help, I need to tell you. Lumiale, I too hold affections towards you. I love you as a friend and more. I was worried about causing you pain by either confessing or telling you I could not accept your feelings. But, I have decided here and now, that I do love you."
"Clavis-sama...it makes me so happy to hear you say that, as I do love you with all of my heart, but you need to rest now. If it makes you feel better, I shall play my harp for you as you rest."
"No. I would like you to lie with me."
"I..." Lumiale smiled sweetly. "I would love to."
"Good. Now, I'm going to need some help..."
Lumiale helped Clavis stand and moved him to the next room, his bedroom. He helped Clavis sit on the bed before pulling back the covers and fluffing the pillows. He moved by Clavis' side and helped the taller man lie down on the bed. He removed the jewellery his friend wore and placed it on the dresser before returning to the bed and removing Clavis' shoes, setting them on the floor just under the bed, and removed his own shoes, placing them beside Clavis' pair. He moved to the other side of the bed and lay down before pulling the covers over himself and the other man. He fixed them up and rested his head against the pillow, lying on his side to face Clavis. "After you've rested and had something to eat, you should be well again. So, please do rest well, Clavis-sama."
Clavis nodded and turned to face Lumiale. "I shall." He closed his eyes, suddenly realising how tired he truly was,
Lumiale smiled gently and planted a light kiss on Clavis' forehead. "We shall rest together, I am here with you, Clavis-sama, and I always will be." He closed his eyes, allowing Clavis' even breathing to lull him into a peaceful slumber.